Margrethe Vestager, who last year slapped Google with a record fine, says that the European Union should retain its threat to break up the tech giant.
Photo: European Commission
Vestager threatens Google, Schneider leads socialists, Catalonians protest arrest, Commission confirms appointment, Facebook loses trust and Eastern Europe hit by orange snow.
EU harbours “grave suspicions” over Google
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has told the Telegraph that the European Union should retain its threat to break up tech giant Google into smaller companies. Vestager said that the EU still has “grave suspicions” about Google’s dominance of the internet—it has a 91.5% share of the search-engine market in Europe. Just last year the European Commission hit Google with a record fine 2.4 billion euro for giving its own comparison shopping service an illegal advantage in search results. The company is still musing over the opening of a data centre in Luxembourg.
Schneider is LSAP lead candidate
Deputy prime minister and minister for the economy Étienne Schneider has been confirmed the lead candidate for the socialist LSAP party at October’s parliamentary election. At its general assembly on Sunday in Strassen, Schneider received the backing of 94.74% of the membership. The party has already put together its candidate lists for the four regional election constituencies, with over half of the candidates first-timers at an election and one-third under the age of 40--the LSAP had been criticised at last year’s local elections for not having a young enough image.
Mass protests in Catalonia
Over 50,000 protestors turned up in Barcelona on Sunday evening in support of their former leader Carles Puigdemont, who had been detained in Germany earlier that day under a European arrest warrant shortly after he crossed the border from Denmark. Protests were also held in other cities and towns across Catalonia, which voted for independence in October 2017 despite the referendum being declared illegal by the Spanish government. Puigdemont is due to appear before a German judge on Monday. It is unclear whether Germany will extradite him to Spain.
Commission confirms Selmayr appointment
The European Commission has issued a statement saying that Martin Selmayr’s appointment as its top civil servant was made in “full compliance” with EU regulations. Selmayr is the former head of Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet and his appointment to the role of Commission secretary general in February was met with scepticism and criticism from some quarters. Juncker had last week threatened to step down if Selmayr’s appointment was rescinded. In its statement, the Commission says it is prepared to discuss whether and how the application of EU staff regulations “can be further developed and strengthened”.
Facebook losing trust
The public in the United States and Germany is losing trust in Facebook, according to polls published over the weekend. Reuters reports that under 50% of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws, while 60% of Germans fear that Facebook and other social networks are having a negative impact on democracy. The polls were taken in the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s apology on the social media platform over what he called a “break of trust” unveiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook ran a series of advertisements in key media over the weekend quoting Zuckerberg’s apology. “We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”
Orange snow hits Eastern Europe
Parts of Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania have been scattered by orange snow in a rare phenomenon that occurs just once about every five years, according to Time and several other sources. The strange looking snow, which results in Mars-like landscapes in places like ski resort Sochi, follows a sandstorm in the Sahara desert. Sand was lifted up into the upper layers of the atmosphere and crossed the Mediterranean.